Wrong on so many levels

WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS…. Brendan Steinhauser, a spokesperson for Freedomworks, a group started by Dick Armey, offers his take on the historical context of the “Tea Parties” he’s helped organize.

“We’re applying Saul Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’ here,” said Steinhauser. “We’re using methods that the Left has used, and that other movements have used, all the way back to the Civil Rights movement. First of all there has to be a real grievance, and that’s what Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King had. That’s what we have.”

This is so dumb, it’s hard to know where to start. The most obvious problem, I suppose, is the idea of a Republican activist comparing his plight to those who suffered under the violence and discrimination of segregation. The comparison itself is ridiculous enough to be insulting.

What’s more, the Tea Baggers continue to think they have “a real grievance” to justify their Fox News rallies, but they haven’t quite explained what that grievance is. Indeed, no one seems capable of explaining why, exactly, tomorrow’s events are taking place.

Different activists have identified different gripes, which only reinforces the apparent incoherence. Some are enraged by taxes (except the 95% who’ve already received tax breaks from Obama.) Others are worried about pork (except for the projects that benefit their district or the Pentagon). Some want to talk about the scourge of budget deficits (Bush’s trillion-plus deficit was no big deal). Others are outraged by the notion of a 39.6% top rate (despite the fact that this is still lower than the top rate imposed by most modern Republican presidents).

And then there are the activists who are looking forward to tomorrow because they think the president is a secret Muslim fascist/socialist who wasn’t born in the U.S. and intends to impose a global currency on us while building concentration camps with FEMA money.

Sure, Steinhauser, tell us again about how much the Tea Baggers have in common with Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. The right’s victim complex seems to be getting more embarrassing as time goes on.

Adam Serwer concluded, “[T]here’s no end to conservatives claiming black people hold themselves back through a culture of grievance. Meanwhile conservatives complain that a small tax increase on people in the top income tax bracket is comparable to the oppression of the Jim Crow South.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.